SALT For Flashart Summer 2011
    •  Istanbul

      Spring brought rejuvenation, renovation, and relocation


      Spring in Istanbul brought many significant changes. Of great importance, Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Center, and Garanti Gallery have been dissolved and the non-profit institution, SALT, has been established. SALT, a Turkish word that can be translated to mean ‘only, simply, or just’, will host exhibitions, screenings, and talks, as well as publish traditional and post-print media on issues related to contemporary art and visual culture, design and architecture, urban problems and socio-economic culture. This new institution’s mission is to explore critical issues related to visual and material culture while cultivating innovative programs to promote artistic excellence, research and experimental thinking.  Within the new organization, Vasif Kortun is the Director of Research and Programming while Sima Benaroya acts as the Director of Communication and Administration.


      After undergoing major renovations, two historical buildings located no more than a fifteen-minute walk apart with a combined area of 15,000 meters square will house SALT.  On April 8, 2011, one of these buildings, SALT Beyoğlu, that contains mostly exhibition and event spaces, opened with two exhibitions. “I am not a studio artist”, a show including a comprehensive selection of works by Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, an artist, thinker, teacher, writer and curator who passed away in 2007, presented an exemplary model for exhibiting and archiving artists work. “Laboratory“ ars viva 2010/11 with artists Nina Canell, Klara Hobza, Markus Zimmermann and Andreas Zybach explored ways to research the aesthetic of artwork using traditional scientific methods. Concurrent with the 12th International Istanbul Biennial opening in September 2011, the second space, SALT Galata, that houses a specialized public library and archive, spaces for research, workshops, exhibitions and conferences, as well as the Ottoman Bank Museum, will open in the renovated 1892 Imperial Ottoman Bank building designed by Alexandre Vallaury.


      After undergoing intensive theoretical re-thinking of the exciting institutions’ situation and activities, SALT, with its new structure, continues in a previously established leadership position not only in Turkey, but also in the region. This move, that itself reflects an early realization of the need to up scale professional and innovative art spaces in Istanbul generated by the increased interest in contemporary Turkish art both inside and outside the country, has set a new trend.  Now, other institutions, local galleries and initiatives have begun and will continue expanding, re-thinking their missions, initiating changes, moving to larger spaces, upgrading infrastructure, developing new areas in the city as art centers, and opening additional branches. For example, in April, parallel to the opening of SALT Beyoğlu, Pi Artworks moved one of its Tophane galleries to a more professional and centrally located space in Misir Apartment near SALT Beyoğlu. At the same time, in a move that will stimulate the growth of another artistic area in the city similar to those in Beyoğlu, Galata, Tophane and Beşiktaş, Outlet Gallery re-located into a larger space in the centrally located Sıraserviler area near Taksim. Beware, the exciting and dynamic art scene in Istanbul is thriving and changing every minute! 


      April 2011


      Flash Art no. 278